Currently residing in Bristol, UK but originally from Buckinghamshire. Mat Miller attended the University of Huddersfield as a graphic design student. He's since followed his passion and education into a full time freelance profession. With clients such as Moment Skis, Dusters California & Liquid Force his incredible illustrations are being skied, ridden and admired all over the world.
We caught up with Mat at his studio at The Canteen in Stokes Croft, Bristol where he gave us an insight into the tools he uses to draw, his creative process and what animal he'd be (a fat owl apparently..) Over to Mat!
Q: How old are you?
Q: Where are you based?
A: Bristol UK
Q: So, when did you know that you would be an artist?
A: I've always wanted to be an artist in some way I think as I discovered I was half decent at drawing from an early age. I knew I would actually be able to make a living from it a few years after leaving uni.
Q: How long did it take to refine your personal style?
A: It’s taken around 6 years to try and nail down a style and process that I enjoy working in.
Q: Who are your inspirations, not just artists?
A: An early inspiration for me was discovering the work of Rodney Matthews while at school. Before this, I didn’t realise art could be of a more graphic nature as well as being fantasy driven. I’m inspired by a lot of anime although I can never remember the directors names (sorry!). Music helps me get into a creative mindset and helps things to flow too. MFDOOM, Bonobo, Dirty Art Club, and John Martyn to name a few.
Q: Do you have a favourite spot to work in?
A: My favourite spot is my current studio in Hamilton House but it’s almost definitely being changed to swankier studios for “Creative start-ups” and the like that can afford £300 a month for a desk space.
Q: Do you have a dream workshop/studio?
A I think the dream for me would be to own or part own a big space where lots of other artists and illustrators can work from. Studio spaces in cities are often very unstable for the exact reason stated above in that they get cashed in on by the owners and developed into property or bland versions of what they were previously with the price tripled.
Q: Why do you draw? Is there a particular idea you always look to portray?
A: I draw because it makes me happy. I’m very fortunate to be able to make a living from what I love doing. I don’t really try to portray too many ideas in my work. Firstly I want to make work that looks pleasing and that viewers can engage with without getting too bogged down in meanings and connotations.
Q: What are the unique struggles of working with your chosen medium?
A: I do end up with some really large photoshop files which can be problematic when sending work to clients or saving the damn things.
Q: What's your favourite part of working with this medium?
A: I work both traditionally and on a wacom tablet in photoshop. I like that I can split my work up into these two stages as I get something different from each of them. The first stage fulfils my need to draw and the second fulfils my need to experiment and play.
Q: On average, how long does one of your pieces take to complete?
A: Anywhere between 10 days and 3 weeks for a larger piece. Smaller pieces of around A4 sixe I can bash out in a few days.
Q: If you could transform into an animal which one would you choose?
A: A bird of prey I think. Maybe an owl. A fat one.
Q: You aren't an artist, what are you doing instead?
A: Premier League footballer or a barman.
Q: Finally, any advice for aspiring artists?
A: Practice and don’t take too much notice of what other artists are doing. There will always be people that are more talented than yourself. Show your work to lots of people and get feedback. Social media is a good way to do this. Experiment with different materials to find some that you like.